Category Archives: Campus Life

Alcohol Policy at Stanford and Middlebury: Which Approach is Right?


The most recent spark in the alcohol policy debate comes not from Middlebury, but from across the country at Stanford University where Miriam Pollock recently published an editorial comparing Middlebury and Stanford’s alcohol policy.  An incredibly well-written, and insightful piece, Pollock’s perspective casts new light on the different approaches collegiate institutions can take in addressing alcohol consumption.  What follows is a re-posting of the Stanford Review piece.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.  Credit is due to Miriam Pollock and the Stanford Review.

Students file into the stands above Youngman Field, decked out in white and blue. The visiting team scores a quick touchdown, dampening the crowd’s spirits. But soon thereafter, quarterback Matt Milano launches an eighty-yard drive that ends in a dramatic touchdown. The students and alumni in the stadium go wild.

Meanwhile, a junior, removed from the action of the game, stumbles across Route 30 into the woods and unloads his lunch. He can barely walk. The junior had drunk heavily at the pre-football game tailgate. A Public Safety officer spots the student and determines he needs to be transported to the hospital. The student is sent to the hospital and safely recovers from his alcohol poisoning. Subsequently, he will receive both punishment and counseling.

The scene should be familiar to anyone who has attended a college football game: some students go too crazy at the tailgates, endangering themselves and others. Often, they will never even make it to the game. This scenario — with a different stadium, different quarterback, and different students — could play out almost anywhere in the US. But in this case the specific game took place at Middlebury College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont.

Understandably, the Middlebury administration — like many college administrations across the country — wants to reduce incidents of binge drinking at tailgates. And so, on September 16th of this year, Erin Quinn, Director of Athletics, announced a new policy. Alcohol was completely prohibited at tailgates, even for those 21 and over. (“Loud” music was also banned, causing students to question whether the policy was meant to protect them or to prevent them from having fun.)

While ensuring students remain safe is a laudable goal, this misguided policy is unlikely to accomplish that. In fact, this policy may even encourage binge drinking. Furthermore, it impinges on student freedom. Contrast all this with Stanford University, which has a far more relaxed alcohol policy. Residential staff champion an “open-door” policy. Students are encouraged to drink with their doors open; in turn, Residence Assistants (RAs) promise only to intervene if students’ safety is at risk. Is Stanford’s model more effective at keeping students safe? Which is right — the zero-tolerance approach, or Stanford’s more tolerant one?

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Fall Harvest Festival: Saturday at the Organic Farm

Come enjoy an afternoon of autumnal festivities at the Organic Farm this Saturday!

Come enjoy an afternoon of autumnal festivities at the Organic Farm this Saturday!

Jake Faber ’16.5 writes in with this really cool weekend event:

Come down to the farm tomorrow between 3:00 and 7:00 for our fall garlic planting ceremony and harvest festival! We’ll start be planting next year’s crop of garlic (weather permitting), followed by a bonfire, potluck dinner, firing of the new cob oven (expect pizza with farm veggies!), and music performances.

If anyone wants to make food for the potluck, MCOF can purchase ingredients/supply produce from the farm as available. Email us at to let us know what you want to make and how much of what ingredients you need!

It’s BYOPAU, so bring your own plates and utensils! Can’t wait to see you all.

Organic Farm

When: Today 3-7 PM
Where: Organic Garden down past Ridgeline
Cost: Plates and Utensils

Alpenglow and Iron Eyes Cody: This Friday

Alpenglow, Middlebury’s favorite favorite alumni folk band, will be back on campus this Friday, at 7:30 PM, to celebrate the recent release of their new EP, Chapel.  They will be joined by Iron Eyes Cody, another popular student band.  The show will take place in Mead Chapeland is expected to be fantastic!

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear two amazing bands!

ALPENGLOW POSTERWhat:  Live music! featuring Alpenglow and Iron Eyes Cody
When: Friday, 10/17, 7:30 PM
Where: Mead Chapel
Cost: Free

American Red Cross Blood Drive TODAY


Today there is an American Red Cross Blood Drive, brought to you by Atwater Commons, taking place in McCullough. This is the first of only two drives that will be held this year, so head over to Wilson Hall (aka the newly renamed Social Space) and give a little of your time and blood to a good cause. Students, faculty and staff can schedule an appointment at, or just walk in between 11:00 am – 4:00 pm to make a donation. Now’s the time to get over your squeamishness and save lives!

Date: October 16
Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm for walk-ins
Place: Wilson Hall, McCullough
Cost: Empathy and goodwill

The WOMP: A Weekly Gem

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As students we often get caught up in the conundrums of daily existence. Between the high-stress work environment we reside in, the existential questions we struggle with at this age, and the ongoing attempt to finagle our way into this beautifully complex social scene, one notices that weeks painfully blur into months and seasons somehow mischievously come and go. We find it far too easy to get caught up in the pattern of working non-stop through the week, enjoying the occasional events that pop up here and there, then, when the weekend comes, we go to extreme measures to drink and experiment, knowing that inevitably we’ll wake up the next morning adhering to the mundane pattern of this inescapable kaleidoscope we are living within.

But fear not friends! In this motley college experience where everything seemingly flies by, there is a weekly event that allows you to tether yourself down to this fast paced world in which we live; to relax, reflect, perform, and enjoy the company of your fellow peers as they share their most enviable of talents with you. That event is the Wednesday Open Mic Party… The WOMP.


Every Wednesday night, in the abstract space of the Gamut Room, musicians and friends alike gather together for an open mic event. All who wish to perform sign up on a blank piece of paper strategically duct-taped to the wall in order to create a line-up that opens and concludes for the headlining performance for the evening. And the beauty of this glorious venue is that whoever wishes to perform can! Every week there is a mixture of performers who are simply preforming to have a good time as well as many well-established musicians/bands. Nowhere else on Middelbury campus will you find a more encouraging audience to preform guitar for your first time, or to read a poem you wrote, or to try out your first bit of stand-up comedy.

Additionally, the WOMP is not exclusively intended for those who play music. While WOMP is a mecca for musicians to come together to collaborate and strengthen the musical community here at Middlebury, it also exists for those who are seeking to take a break in the middle of their week to be present at one of the only weekly scheduled social events that attracts the most down to earth and welcoming people at this school. Looking out into the audience you’ll see handfuls of people in dream-like trance states at the foot of the stage; friends cuddled up with each other on the beanbags; groups chatting in the back; committed students who wouldn’t miss WOMP for the world but still studying at the tables; fellow musicians jamming out; friends dancing. Whatever one desires of this mid-week event can be attained. If you know nothing about music, and are simply looking to meet a ton of new, like-minded people, the WOMP is just as much the place for you.


Tonight, Dustin Lowman will be headlining this week’s WOMP. If you want to hear the sweet flowing tunes of this generation’s Bob Dylan as well as WOMP’s most frequent performer, you won’t want to miss this evening’s performance. Following last week’s introduction of the up and coming band Mt. Philo, and the most attended and successful WOMP we’ve ever seen, this weeks evening should be just the thing you need to start off the second half of this fall semester!

When: Tonight 9pm (Wednesday October, 15)
Where: The Gamut Room

Professor of the Week: Svea Closser

BJS-20090615-6x6-01bWe are proud to present Svea Closser, this week’s featured professor from the Sociology and Anthropology Department. Svea is a medical anthropologist from Michigan who has done intensive research around the world and teaches one of Middlebury’s most popular classes: Global Health, as well as various other classes in the SOAN department.

Svea’s amazing life began in a very small, rural town of about 20,000 people in the upper peninsula of Michigan, hours away from any city. She started her liberal arts career on the West Coast at Pomona College studying religion and biology, never taking a single anthropology class. Her involvement in the medical anthropology field began after college when she received a Fulbright Grant to go to Pakistan. Her time in Pakistan led her to the field that is now her specialty, but at the time she believed she had made a earth shattering discovery of a topic no one had heard of before!

When she returned to the states she worked in LA at a nonprofit serving Medicare patients which gave her the chance to learn a lot about the American health care system to complement her extensive knowledge on international health systems. She went back to school to do graduate work at Emory University in Atlanta but spent her summers in Pakistan. Overall Svea estimates that she spent three years in Pakistan and has become fluent in Urdu. She was able to further sharpen her language skills by marrying a Pakistani man and speaking Urdu at home but hasn’t spoken it much since coming to Middlebury.

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Persuasive Technology for Positive Behavior Change: Employee Engagement as a Sustainability Super Strategy


Come to the talk by Sarah Finnie Robinson, a founding partner of WeSpire. Leaders often say their organization’s greatest asset is its people – but in reality, this is only true when those people are fully engaged at work. WeSpire develops persuasive technology for this opportunity, and now works with global Fortune 500 corporations on sustainability solutions. Tour of the platform, customer stories and the inside scoop on the Boston tech start-up scene.  Cosponsored with Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Be sure to grab your lunch and bring it over.

Date: Today
Time: 12:30pm-1:20pm
Place: The Orchard, Hilcrest

Social House Information Session

Chromatic, one of many beautiful social homes

Chromatic, one of many beautiful social homes

In light of recent events and policies, it’s clear there’s significant drama regarding social life at Middlebury. While we all (at least most of us) revel in our campus’ lack of Greek life, social outlets at Midd can feel limited, and, if you’re not in a cappella, sports, improv or the likes, it can be really difficult to meet students in other years. Thankfully, Midd does have some sweet Social Houses, which provide invaluable opportunities to branch out, meet students with similar interests, and feel part of a smaller community.

If you’re interested in joining a social house this year (everyone is welcome!) be sure to check out today’s social house information session/fair in Crossroads Cafe. Kelsey O’Day ’15 writes in to explain the event:

Come to Crossroads at any point from 7-9pm on Wednesday, October 8th and meet some of the Social House leadership! Representatives from each Social House (Tavern, The Mill, Chromatic, KDR, and Xenia) will be there. We’ll be available to answer any questions you may have about the social house system in general or about a specific social house. Also, this is a great opportunity to get on our email list sowe can invite you to our events throughout the year! This is a *~* non-binding*~* event! AKA you will not be required to sign up to be a member, and can just come hang. Not to mention there’s FREE GRILLE FOOD for attendees and fresh apple cider (yuuuum).

Date: Today, October 8
Time: 7-9pm
Place: Crossroads Cafe

Lunar Eclipse Wednesday Morning!!!

Lunar Eclipse

Here at middbeat, we’ve always been big fans of the moon.  It brings the ebbs and flows of the tide, makes wolves howl, and makes for romantic walks home from the bar.  It therefore pains us immensely to announce the total eclipse of the moon around 7 AM tomorrow.  For those early risers and sky-watchers out there, this will be a real sight to behold that may not happen again for quite some time.  This could be a good morning for a sunrise hike up Mount Abe, getting on top of your dorm’s roof, sending it to the coast to see the sun rise over the sea, or joining the Aviation Club to get above tomorrow’s expected rain clouds.  As they say, celestial events like this only happen once in a blue moon.  Don’t miss out.

Thanks to Eyal Levy ’14.5 for the tip.

When: 7 AM Wednesday
Where: the sky

Feb-Break MAlt Applications Due Thursday!

Maya Neria ’15 writes in:

MAlt is Middlebury’s alternative break program. Each year, students design and plan six trips during February Break (national and international destinations) and one Vermont-based trip during Fall and Spring Breaks. The goal of the trips is to engage Middlebury students with communities across the nation and the globe in order to share an experience, provide service where service is needed, and learn about the systems that shape community realities around the world.

The program has a needs-blind acceptance policy and does fund-raising throughout the year to make sure that anyone who needs financial assistance can participate.

See after the jump for trip descriptions.  Applications for this Feb-break are due this Thursday, October 9.

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